You know that we've spent a long time trying to give our customers and clients the best experience possible when we're out on our beer, wine, and food tasting tours. We have been working hard for years now to figure out what everybody needs.
After meeting with focus groups, tech support teams, and public relations agencies, we're happy to unveil our new Wine Beds. We know you probably don't want to leave after you're done with a tour with us, and now you never have to! We placed them on all our tour vehicles, so that if you decide you want to stay longer, you can take a nice nap and return to taste with us refreshed!
Our new car-bed prototype on its way to its inaugural test! Photo courtesy Flickr/Ed Kohler.
As we'll be renting out the beds in fifteen-minute increments, there will be a minor fee for each nap, and only one person at a time can use each bed to cut down on awkward misunderstandings, but we really feel that this will truly maximize your enjoyment of our services.
"I'm so happy that I got that half-hour in between tastings," said Avril Feules-Dei, 28, who recently tried our mattress prototype on one of our train tours. "I was able to return to the meal relaxed, refreshed, and ready for whatever the world threw into my mouth next."
"It was completely worth the extra $50 for those fifteen minutes!" enthused 32-year-old Joe King. "What a great nap!"
"At first, climbing up on top of that van, I had my doubts," confessed tourist Itza Prainck, 63. "But what a rush it turned out to be, especially when I woke up while we were on the freeway! I've always wanted to do that."
The beds are affixed to the top of our chauffeured vans and shaded by high-quality tarps. All you need to do is climb on up and get some rest in the fresh California air and then you'll be ready for anything — and if we have to drive anywhere while you're in dreamland, you'll still be with us! Just hop on up, tie yourself in, and snooze until you're ready to join us on our next tasting.
We're still testing the train prototype, but we'll get back to you just as soon as we figure out how to get the mattresses to stay put.
We hope you enjoy our latest addition to the San Diego Beer and Wine Tours family. Sweet dreams!
Happy Saint Patrick's Day!
Today's the traditional day to celebrate your Irish roots (real or imagined) alongside hundreds of thousands of Irish and Irish-at-heart who are doing the same. Today started out as a religious celebration (and a celebration of Ireland itself) but got exported to the United States, where it became a big, drunken holiday and celebration of Irish-Americans.
We love big, drunken holidays, at least when they're celebrated responsibly! In this case, one of our pet peeves has, for years, been the prevalence of green beer. Take a stand against green beer!
There's actually a reason for this that isn't aesthetic. The reason is this: the most Irish beer around is stout, and stouts are delicious, thick, and dark. Those three factors all but guarantee nobody will dye them green. For one thing, since they're already delicious, they won't need any adulteration — even of the colorful variety. For another, the best stouts are so thick and dark, you can put all the green dye into them you want, and it won't make any difference at all in the color.
Since that's what you should be drinking anyway, green beer sort of becomes a moot point. Green cocktails are another matter for another post. But in honor of Saint Patrick's Day:
Our beer tours are, of course, an amazing way to get to know the rich variety of excellent stouts (and other beers!) that San Diego has on tap. Give us a call. We'd love to talk to you about it! We have Shira Bliss on staff, and she's our resident expert. She should be — she was born in Ireland, after all, and in case you still had any doubts, today's her birthday. She's about as Irish as you can get!
Happy St. Shira's Day! Erin go bragh!
Brooke B., Irish Lassie
Photo Courtesy: Lauren Manning/Flickr
Happy Leap Day!
This special day only comes around once every four years, and it originates from Roman times, when then-emperor Julius Caesar decided to add an extra day to the year periodically to make up for discrepancies in the calendar. The tradition started in 45 B.C.E., which means that leap days have been around even longer than our current calendar.
Because leap years are relatively unusual, recurring only twice a decade, February 29th has an air of the mysterious and the unusual about it. Businesses that are started on this day are supposed to be successful, according to legend; another legend states that this is the day women can propose to men (that's an old one though, of course — women proposing to men nowadays raises nary an eyebrow, although it's still generally customary for marriage-minded men to make the proposal.)
Antiquated customs aside, Leap Day is still a special day. It's February 29th, after all, and that demands something special. Since we are of the mindset that every special occasion should be celebrated with delicious food and drinks, we dug up this Leap Day cocktail:
It combines 29 millilitres each of Pisco, Campari, and Lillet, two dashes of Angostura Bitters, and a couple of icecubes. Swirl and enjoy!
If you'd really rather have a beer, we've got your back on that one, too. A number of breweries across the country have planned events for this very day, and if you really feel like pulling out the stops, Philadelphia's 2SP Brewing puts out Hop Leap IPA today, and Untappd put out a special badge for this exact day. If wine's more your thing, we couldn't find any especially leap year specific tipples, but we did find a handy list of leap-themed wines.
Hopefully, you now feel prepared for the unusual fun that will undoubtedly come your way tonight. Happy celebrating, and happy Leap Beer! Or Leap Year! Oh, whatever, we'll drink to them both. Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow will be March.
Leap Day Lovely
Restaurant Week has arrived!
It’s one of San Diego’s best events, now in its twelfth year: all over the county, restaurants of every stripe participate in prix-fixe menus and specials. That means that if you like to eat well (and who doesn’t?) you can not only get some of the best value for your dollar this week, but discover new and exciting places to dine as well.
San Diego has always had its spots to get good food, but in the past year or two, it has begun taking its rightful place in the pantheon of “eater’s cities” across the world, joining all the other places you can get a wonderful meal — but still using recipes and ingredients that feature the best of our unique geographic and ethnic diversity.
We at San Diego Beer and Wine Tours have long been champions of restaurant week, because we feel that the food scene here is underrated and always evolving, and deserves a lot more attention than it gets. Plus, wine and beer are great, there’s no denying that, but pairing them often and well is an art, which takes your tasting experiences to new, unforeseen heights. That’s why we love taking you to restaurants!
Whether you’re here for a visit or if you’re a San Diego lifer, whether you’re an experienced eater or you’re not sure where to start on your tasting adventure, we want to be part of it! Give us a call for some pointers about San Diego’s great food scene (especially if you want to sample some of our region’s fine wine or wonderful craft beer) or schedule a tour. Tasting is so much more fun with other good company!
Oh yes, and for more information on San Diego Restaurant Week, visit their official website: www.sandiegorestaurantweek.com. This time around, it runs through January 24th.
Brooke B., Official Taster
If you're in San Diego, you probably have noticed the fact that it is raining. Not just any rain, either — it's a true-blue El Niño, one storm after another lined merrily up to dump some long-overdue moisture on our parched and cracking soil.
While the rain is undeniably good for everyone in the region, it can put a damper (pun intended) on outdoor activities. The animals are almost all in hiding at the San Diego Zoo, walking around Sea World is a chore, and hiking up a steep and muddy hill? Forget about it.
But, of course, that's what we are here for. Whether you're visiting or you live here, we have delightful and delicious ideas for your activities, all of which, of course, involve wonderful wines, lip-smackingly delicious beers, and some of the best food you've ever had anywhere to pair with it.
We understand that the last thing you probably want to do in one of America's sunniest cities is traipse around in the rain. But we wouldn't make you do that. We'll just come pick you up or meet you, and then take you on a warm, dry tour of the best breweries, wineries, and restaurants in beautiful San Diego.
Brooke B., Rainy Day Friend
Image Courtesy: Flickr user Darren Moloney
The season has begun!
We're not talking about springtime, although that came in last month with scattered showers and even a hint of some May flowers. We're not talking about sports, although there are various events and seasons going on there, too.
No, what we're talking about is that most important of seasons in southern California: that of the craft beer festival. It kicked off this year with the acclaimed Citybeat Festival of Beers, an afternoon fair that offered music and food as well as local beer that ranged from the mainstream to the obscure.
Starting May 1st, and continuing through the 3rd, Temecula is hosting its annual Southern California Homebrewers' Festival at Vail Lake. It ran into some problems last year because of legislative issues, but this year it's going strong and promises to be a fun time, so get yourself out to the campground and see what's brewing!
In June, the San Diego International Beer Festival will be held in tandem with the San Diego County Fair. Nearly 200 breweries from all over the world will be represented, and since knowledge is power, it's your moral imperative to go find out as much as you can about each one! It includes free fair admission, so have fun – and hold on to your hat.
That's just a brief entree into southern California's wonderful beer world. But you don't have to wait until the festivals to have fun – give us a call and book yourself a beer train or chauffeured tour. We'll pair your drinks with delicious meals and show you the best of San Diego.
It’s a great month in San Diego, because not only will we be getting a real spring this year, thanks to some serious rain we’ve been lacking for the past several years, but this is also the month that all the great beer events begin!
Here’s just a smattering of all the fun stuff going on in the first half of March alone.
March 7th: Best Coast Beer Fest. This one-day event, at Embarcadero Park South, is a fundraiser for a nonprofit group called Cancer for College. 100 percent of the proceeds goes to help put a cancer survivor through university. Also, it’s personally endorsed by Will Ferrell, who apparently sometimes shows up and just hangs out doing Ron Burgundy impersonations.
March 12th: Exotic ingredients Beer Tasting. First of all, you should get to the Museum of Man stat anyway, because their Beerology exhibit is a thing of beauty! This beer tasting, curated by the museum and featuring several local brewers, is a great reason to go see it. If you miss this tasting, don’t worry – there will be more. Many, many more.
March 14th: ShamROCK, also known as Saint Patrick’s Day in the Gaslamp. Oh, yeah! This holiday is a beer lover’s dream. Remember, though – you’re in no way obligated to drink green beer, just good beer.
March 15th: El Cajon Brewer’s Invitational. Feel like heading for the hills? El Cajon, which literally means “the boxed,” because of the hills that surround this warm valley, is having its first ever large-scale craft beer event. Just look at this lineup! It’s going to be incredible.
Brooke B., March Hare
Mardi Gras is almost here!
This is one of the best times of year to be a lover of food and drink. It’s related to Carnaval, which comes from the phrase “carne vale,” or “farewell to the flesh,” and in the Christian calendar is the time of feasting before the self-deprivation of Lent begins.
The Mardi Gras feasting and partying day is also known as Shrove Tuesday, the day that precedes Ash Wednesday. Both days are known as “moveable feast” days, which got their name because their dates move throughout the year in relation to Easter Sunday, which is always held on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Northern Hemisphere’s spring equinox.
That’s a mouthful, so to speak. But we love moveable feasts so much that’s what we do! Every tour we take you on is a moveable feast, because there’s so much deliciously good food and drink in San Diego that we can’t limit you to just one place. That’s why we have our train tours as well as our walking and chauffeured tours. We can’t choose just one.
Best way to celebrate Mardi Gras? Book one of our February tours, and laissez les bon temps rouler! We’ll even find you a chicory coffee and a beignet to wash it all down, but you may have to bring your own beads if you want some lagniappe.
Happy Fat Tuesday!
Brooke B., Krewe member
Happy Saint Patrick's Day!
Saint Patrick's Day is a Christian feast day that is celebrated as a holiday in Ireland and Northern Ireland. It's also a special day in America, and around the world, for members of the Irish Diaspora.
Oh, who are we kidding! It's one of the best days of the year for beer lovers. Especially since we now don't have to settle for green beer which, let's face it, isn't anywhere near as good coming up as it is going down. But now that San Diego is truly a full fledged mecca for beer lovers, with a strong population of Irish people and Irish-Americans to boot, Saint Patty's is way more than just a day to imbibe. It's a day to savor!
Instead of going green this year, why not go red? Red ales are among Ireland's best-known beers. They are absolutely delightful. San Diego has its share of red ales too, but with a regional twist – since we're known for our hoppy brews, the red ales you can get around here have their own distinct flavor without losing sight of their Irish roots. Kind of like a lot of San Diegans!
Green Flash produces Hop Head Red, crisp with a sweet caramelly twist, and the venerable Karl Strauss has its Red Trolley Ale. Mike Hess Brewing makes a hoppy, citrusy version of red ale called Venator, and Mission Brewery has a well-regarded Imperial Red on tap called Carrack. Phew, that's a lot of reds!
Of course, other than green beers, people think "dark" when they think of Irish beer, thanks to Guinness, an old favorite. But while Guinness is definitely always a crowd-pleaser, there are some really excellent local darks that hold up beautifully. San Diego isn't just about Double IPAs! Try Dawn Patrol Dark, a brown ale from Port Brewing, or the wonderfully-named Great Ape Nectar from Monkey Paw, a hazelnut chocolate milk stout with a finish that's as sweet as an Irish bread pudding.
We think this list will be a good way to start your day off right. To continue, book one of our Saint Patrick's Tours. We'll show you all the best craic in San Diego. And there's plenty to be had!
Enjoy yourself. Éirinn go Brách!
Brooke B., Cocktail Colleen
San Diego Restaurant Week is almost here!
It should go without saying that we love San Diego's food scene. We may be San Diego Beer and Wine Tours, but tasting beer and wine without knowing what foods to pair them with takes at least half the joy out of the whole experience!
That's why we always offer food on our beer and wine tours. When you correctly pair, it brings out nuances and dimensions to your drink – and your food – that you never knew existed. It's like a voyage of discovery with every meal!
San Diego's craft beer scene has been extolled and admired as one of the best on the planet for years, and with good reason. Its wine scene is also gaining attention, too, as more people realize how wonderful it is. But the food scene here is one of the region's best-kept secrets.
We're committed to changing that, and that's why we're such huge supporters of San Diego's Restaurant Week. Everyone should get out during the week of January 18th through the 24th and check out the menus! Participating restaurants offer special, prix-fixe menus so that you can sample as many as you like without a big dent to your wallet. It's totally worth it to be able to explore!
And we'd be remiss if we didn't mention that as huge supporters of San Diego's food scene, we also organize food and drink tours that showcase some of the best, most scrumptious meals (and beers and vino too) that you can find anywhere.
So eat, drink, and be merry with us, because tomorrow… well, tomorrow there will be more of the same!
Here's to a delicious life,
Brooke B., Gastronomix